Any chance of a multinational partner for Proton?
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw would like the Government to look at the feasibility of securing a multinational partner for Proton, our national car.
How long do we have, before the world car market overwhelms Proton? We are worried about the precarious position of Proton.
Dr Tan questioned the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Husni whether the recently announced National Automotive Policy was only a temporary measure to give Proton a breathing space. What was the long-term strategy?
The new negotiation with Mitsubishi may improve Proton products. But, it may not help with the networking and international market, let alone the peculiar market of Japan.
Fifteen years ago, the national car company was supposed to create a whole host of downstream activities and multiplier effects. It has done something including providing employment for thousands of people. The local content for its products is over 90%, whereas a car from Thailand may have less than 50% local contents.
In the last few years, the world car industry has changed drastically. General Motors, which was the biggest car maker in the world, is facing difficulties. Toyota is overtaking GM as the biggest, producing over 9.8 million vehicles a year.
The German auto maker, Volks Wagon, has not shown further interest in Proton. Toyota which helps in the new Proton factory in Tanjung Malim does not intend to be a partner; it has its own agenda. Daihatsu, which owns 51% of Perodua, is under Toyota.
While Thai cars do not have even 50% local contents, her auto industry provides over 100,000 jobs and exporting over 80,000 vehicles a year. Proton exports hardly 10,000, the highest being 17,000.
Just as Proton, Korean car makers, Kia and Hyundai, are new players. They excel, penetrating even the largest car market in the world, the United States of America. How are Kia and Hyundai managing? Are they interested to team up with Proton?